What Should Truck Drivers Do to Keep Safe at Night?
If famous Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh were alive today and were to drive a truck, he’d probably choose the night shift. He’d choose the darkness: “I often think that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day.”
According to a National Sleep Foundation poll, 14 percent of Americans work the night shift. And working the night shift has some consequences. Night shift workers suffer insomnia more than day shift workers (61 percent). They also suffer nearly twice the levels of daytime sleepiness as their daytime counterparts. Night-shift workers are twice as likely to fall asleep at the wheel. We at iGlobal LLC feel truck drivers at night should brace themselves and get educated on the shift’s unique challenges.
Nighttime Truck Drivers Can Take Steps to Ensure Safe Driving
The statistics become even more significant when your gainful employment as a truck driver revolves around your ability to remain sharp, alert and attentive.
Driving at night – as Van Gogh may have indirectly alluded to – certainly has its allure: the solitude, the stillness, the peacefulness. And for some drivers, it’s unavoidable; the night shift has to be covered.
Night Workers Expected to Grow in Numbers
The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the number of night shift workers (15 million) will continue to grow as more retailers expand their hours and workloads to accommodate rising customer demands.
On the side of the workforce, a study by University of California’s Center for WorkLife Law and the Center for American Progress, more than a quarter of night shift workers choose those hours to address child care needs.
Working nights is a fact for many – and for many truck drivers it’s their preferred time.
If you drive trucks at night, you understand the risks and the rewards.
Working at Night is Easy If You Remain Prepared
What are some precautions drivers can take to prepare themselves in the late evening and early morning hours – as the world sleeps?
The National Sleep Foundation offers these tips for those truck drivers who take to the open road during the night:
- Eat healthy and well-balanced meals. Unhealthy eaters generally do not sleep well, and a good eight hours of sleep is vital to night workers.
- Mark your daily calendar. A consistent schedule can help alleviate the rough patches when sleep time is hard to find.
- Get in shape. Any type of regular exercise helps improve sleep.
- Hold the Jo. Don’t drink anything with caffeine or alcohol – and don’t smoke – at least six hours before going to bed.
- Watch the signs. Your physical signs, that is. Are you drifting off or weaving while driving? Are you missing exits, tailgating, nodding your head or yawning excessively? You should pay attention to these alerts.
- Take a break. For longer trips, stop in safe areas to nap or go for a walk. You should stop every two hours (or every 100 miles) for very long runs.
- A hot cup. Caffeine is not the silver bullet. Coffee is an adrenal stimulant. Stress (perhaps from long hours of driving) causes adrenal fatigue. When you deplete the cortisol in your adrenal gland, your body sends you a signal to rest. Coffee is a false reset button – it’s a jimmyrig.
- Conversation. Have someone to talk to. That might be a companion. Don’t hold your cell phone during conversations, which can be distracting.
We hope you found these tips helpful. Do you have tips you’d like to share? Send them to us. We’d love to hear them.
iGlobal LLC is a technology company which specializes in providing solutions for transportation, logistics and distribution industries. We build hardware and develop software that resolves critical business dilemmas, especially those involving fleet management and communication technologies.